Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Missing Money Shot

What the hell...It turns out I did have a photo of the Chicken and Sausage stew mentioned in the previous post.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

BS&R Century 10 inch Deep Camp Oven

A cute little Camp Oven followed me home. The oven you see in the middle was made in the 1960s by the Birmingham Stove and Range company as part of their Century line. The oven is a 10" DEEP CO and this is a size that is no longer made. (Maca comes close with their 9" and 11" Deep ovens)

You can see how this oven compares in size to my Lodge #8 and #10 Camp Ovens.

Another view showing the additional depth of the Century. The lid also has more of the historic flared shape that you see on truly old Camp Ovens.

The Century was welcomed to the fleet with a maiden voyage of Chicken & Sausage Stew.

All that stuff went into the Century and it was good. Being a crappy blogger I have no photos of the finished stew or any action shots of the oven cooking.

It got dark. Early. Why we still do this DST crap is beyond me but it is what it is.

My upcoming travel schedule is busy so until my next belated half assed post I'll just wish everyone most of you a happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Big Iron - Wagner Ware Pie Logo #14

It has been raining a lot here. The grills and smokers are cold and wet so the last few days have given me a chance to move a piece of old cast iron from the project pile to the electrolysis tank.

This project is a monster. A number 14 skillet is a massive piece of cast iron. This one is 15 1/4 inches in diameter, 16 5/16 inches from ear to ear and 21 3/4 inches long from lifting tab to the end of the handle. Weight is right at 10 pounds.

This one also happens to be a fairly scarce Wagner Ware Pie Logo 1064. These were produced in the 1920s and as with all the older, larger skillets, it can be a challenge to find one that hasn't been warped or bowed. This piece shows its age and the underside is a little rough from some surface rust but it does sit perfectly flat and will make a fine skillet for truly big jobs.

For comparison sake I placed a modern Lodge 10.25" (the most common size) skillet inside the no. 14. 

This skillet just came out of the electrolysis tank this morning so it isn't fully seasoned but even with some minor underside roughness it is an attractive piece of casting and history.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Skillet Porn - Sizzling Lodge on Lodge Action

Fajitas were on the menu. After the marinated flank steak left center stage on the Lodge Sportsman's Grill there was still plenty of heat left in the coals to handle an ancient Lodge #9 full of onions, peppers and jalapenos.

Tortillas and corn on the cob followed but hunger + recent disinterest in blogging got the better of me and I stopped taking photos.... If you want to see another post about this grill (with videos) see this one.LINK

Now that it's warm outside I just can't see cooking indoors so whatever I post will be most likely be grilling/ barbecue related.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Griswold Pop-over Pans

I did not know a whole lot about old cast iron when I bought these "muffin pans" back in the early 1990s.

It turns out they were called "Pop-over Pans" and they really aren't very old. The pan on the right is an actual Griswold. It was cast in Erie PA probably in the 1950s. The pan on the left has the markings of both Wagner Ware and Griswold so it was produced after the Wagner Mfg. Co. acquired Griswold in 1957. It was made using the same pattern, but was cast in Sidney OH in either the 1960s or early 1970s.

 As you can see the Griswold is a much nicer casting than the later Wagner made piece.

 Interior of the Wagner produced pan.

 Interior of the actual Griswold.

I think this post is a good illustration of why cast iron collectors regard the 1960s as a turning point. The quality of the cast iron produced before the sixties was simply better.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Just how good is the seasoning on a Lodge pre-seasoned pan?

Scrambled eggs are a pretty decent test of any skillet. I thought it would be interesting to scramble a couple eggs and see how well a brand new Lodge Logic pan did with them.

For comparison I used an old Wagner Ware #8 that is getting to be a pretty nice pan.

You will see the results. I think the Lodge did fairly well for brand new.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

International Dutch Oven Society's 2010 Championship Cookbook

The recipes in this book are the same ones that the teams will prepare in the upcoming 2010 World Championship Dutch Oven Cook-Off. All of the recipes are suitable for both indoor and outdoor (camp dutch ovens) dutch oven cooking.

I have the 2009 book and I'm really looking forward to getting the 2010 edition.

You can peek at the table of contents at this LINK .

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Red Beans and Rice - Adapted from Chef Paul Prudhomme's

 Red Beans and Rice is a traditional Monday lunch in New Orleans so if you get cracking you can have it ready in time. I adapted mine from the version Chef Paul Prudhomme placed in his Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen 

 Andouille sausage and ham hocks.

Red Kidney Beans, soaked overnight.

Cayenne, thyme, oregano, garlic and a pepper blend. My main variations are pictured at the bottom of this photo. I used a blend of ground peppercorns instead of just white and I used 6 cloves of fresh garlic instead of the garlic powder called for by Chef Paul.

Onions, bay leaves, green pepper, celery, and of course, hot sauce. It should surprise no one that I focused on the hot sauce.

Squeezing almost all the ingredients into one shot. I was playing with a new fast (f/1.4) 50 mm lens in these shots.

1 pound dry red kidney beans soaked overnight*
6 ham hocks
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced on the bias
2 1/2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped green bell pepper
5 bay leaves
2 tsp. blended peppercorns
2 tsp. dried thyme
5-6 minced cloves of garlic
1 1/2 tsp. dry oregano
1+ tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 
Louisiana style hot sauce to taste

What you gotta do:
Saute all the vegetables and the seasonings in olive oil in a BIG Dutch Oven until onions start to turn clear.

Add ham hocks and 10 cups of water to Dutch Oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered until ham hock meat is fork tender (about an hour, test it).

Remove ham hocks and add the soaked beans with 3 additional cups of water. Bring the pot back to a boil and then gently simmer with the lid on tight for 2 hours. *At this point the cooking time still remaining really depends on how fresh your dried beans are. If people don't eat a lot of beans where you live and the beans you buy are old it can take several more hours. If in doubt I'd recommend precooking the beans overnight in a crock pot. Adjust cooking time accordingly.

Stirring the beans every now and then is a good idea, particularly if you are not using a very heavy pot.
Once the beans are beginning to be soft (not mealy but not yet mushy) throughout add the andouille sausage and put the cover back on the DO.

Cook for another 35-45 minutes and start testing for bean "doneness" and if you need to adjust water level or seasoning. Once everything is getting close use a boning knife to remove any ham from the ham hocks and add that to the DO.

I used a hand blender to puree some of the beans to get a thicker consistency.

Serve with rice, ( I like a pilaf style rather than just steamed white) cornbread, hot sauce and if you are at lunch on a working Monday at least 3 beers.

I used an older Lodge #12 9 quart Dutch Oven. A 7 quart might work but anything smaller would have been too small.

Alternate money shot - I like them both so you get both.

I hope you'll make this and let me know how you liked it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Orange Scrubby, you're the one

You make cleanup time lots of fun,
Orange Scrubby, I'm awfully fond of you...
OK, maybe it isn't fun but this woven plastic scrubby thang is by far my favorite tool for cleaning up cast iron cookware.  They scour off any stuck on bits without stripping the iron of seasoning or removing all the oil used during cooking.

I simply scrub (as little as possible) while holding the piece under the hottest tap water. Wipe with a towel and set the piece in a warm oven to finish drying. Cleaning up couldn't be easier and my iron cookware is thriving with this treatment.

For a more comprehensive look at washing cast iron cookware > Lookee Here

Upcoming: We are off to Memphis and then parts of Mississippi and Louisiana for a quick vacation. Look for posts related to barbecue, blues, history and more coming soon.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2 Excellent Pie Tutorial Videos rev. B

Jumble Berry and Strawberry Plum pies. These look great and I really wish it was summer right now. Making pie crust (and biscuits) is reason enough to own a food processor.

It took me about 4 years to learn how to make decent crust but these videos should save people some time.
 My method is very close to what you see in these videos and below you can see a sneak peek at one of my pies. More to follow.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chicken Frying Videos

YouTube = a busy (or lazy) blogger's best friend.

The first video includes a tour of the Lodge plant in South Pittsburgh Tennessee. 


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sunday's Roast Chicken & Dinner Rolls - Camp Dutch Oven Style

In a classic case of "monkey see, monkey do" I was inspired to haul out some of my black pots by the videos featured in a recent post.  Before doing this the tub I use as a windblock had to be freed from the icy clutches of winter. This was last weekend and I've got a lot more snow now.

3 Chicken halves easily fit in the big honking Lodge #16 Camp Oven.

 A batch of dinner rolls have risen in the Lodge #12. I used this recipe found on

You may have heard of the "+3/-3 rule" for Camp Oven cooking. For the #16 you see above this rule means 16 + 3 = 19 coals on top and 16 - 3 = 13 coals under the bottom. This gets you close to 350 degrees inside the oven. I have some spare charcoals burning in the tub to cover the next oven.

The dinner rolls are placed over the chicken. Stacking the ovens lets you capture the heat of the charcoals in a more efficient manner.

After the rolls baked for 20-22 minutes I peeked. They looked like they were almost done but I wanted them to brown more so the #12 was pulled off the stack and all the coals were placed on top. This is like slipping something under the broiler to brown.

I'm going to point out that this was the last of my Kingsford charcoal and I don't plan to buy any more. It produces lots of thick ash that clings to the briquette. I finally found a good source of Royal Oak and I'll stick to it unless they mess up their formula too.

The rolls next to my size 13 boot for size perspective.

The rolls slipped right out of the overturned pot. The daylight is almost gone...

I had to use the flash for the chicken but as you can see, it is simply roast chicken. It was good too. I slipped butter with lime juice, cilantro and garlic under the skin before it went into the #16. Cooking in a Camp Oven produces very tender meat and one of the chicken halves just fell apart as lifted it with tongs.

Cleanup for the oven used to cook the bread was as easy as wiping it out with a dish towel. The big # 16 barely fits in my 2 sided sink. Cleaning it outdoors or in a bathtub may be a better option.

I plan to do more Camp Oven related posts this year. Hopefully some people will be prodded into trying it themselves as it is a rather fun way to cook. Ive included some links below to sites that feature plenty of Camp/Dutch Oven material.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Carne de Puerco en Salsa Verde

I was looking for something to do with the last bits of the pig we won at a benefit auction. I really liked that pig, we'll call him Melvin.
Melvin was a fine pig and the 4 shoulder steaks seemed to be crying out for a gentle repose in a tomatillo and chile bath errr sauce. I was happy to oblige these emanations coming from the after world.

The vegetables were roasted in a dry skillet on top of the stove until softened and nicely charred.

The shoulder steaks were seasoned and cooked in the same skillet as the vegetables.

The vegetables hit the food processor with 1 cup of water and then were poured into the empty (and defatted) skillet to fry.

In Mexican cooking, quickly frying the sauce is a common step. It deglazed the skillet nicely.

Melvin and the sauce got acquainted in a non reactive pot and simmered there until everything was tender and delicious.  ( 45 minutes? check with a fork) A more perfect ending for a fine pig cannot be imagined.

4 pork shoulder steaks or 2 lbs country style ribs
1 tsp salt
1 TBsp. olive oil
8-10 fresh medium tomatillos - husked and rinsed
2-10 jalapenos - depending on how hot you want it
1 small onion
1 banana peppers
4 large garlic cloves
¾ cup packed cilantro leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup water

I forgot to add the cilantro to the sauce, merely using it as a garnish. If you do add it to the sauce you will get a much brighter green color.

Variations - Add a little Crema or Sour Cream when serving. Cotija cheese would be excellent crumbled over the top.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lucky Number 13 - Habanero Hot Sauce

I really like hot sauce. After draining my 46 bezillionth bottle last weekend I decided to make some myself. I've made various kinds before but this time I decided to quit dicking around and make some serious ass habanero hot sauce.

One of my favorite brands that combines heat and flavor is Melinda's. Melinda's is a Costa Rican concoction that comes in various heat levels and has a rather simple ingredient list.

I already had everything I needed except a real recipe and the habaneros. Much searching on the Interweb thingy provided some fundamentals. Figuring every recipe found was written by some Volvo driving Nancy boy who sits down to pee, I bumped up the habanero count.

  • 13 Habaneros, stemmed but not seeded.
  • 1 average carrot, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/2 white onion cut into chunks
  • 8 cloves of roasted garlic
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • juice of one lime
  • salt to taste
Put the chiles, carrot and onion in a stainless steel saucepan along with the vinegar and water and simmer until the carrots are fairly soft. Let cool a bit.

Add the rest of the ingredients (except the lime juice) to a blender and then add the contents of the saucepan. Blend until smooth and add cold water to achieve the viscosity you'd like. Finish the sauce with the lime juice.

As you can see, you get quite a lot of hot (and I do mean hot) sauce out of this recipe. The taste is in the neighborhood of Melinda's XXXtra Reserve but it is considerably hotter.

I'm in my happy place with this sauce and a black bean and cheese quesadilla. You only get one life, don't go through it being a pansy.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Introduction to Camp Dutch Oven Cooking Videos

Texas Parks and Wildlife has uploaded some great introductory videos about outdoor Camp Dutch Oven cooking.

Enjoy the videos and if you haven't tried doing this yet, get started. I recommend Lodge Camp Dutch Ovens over any other.


Here are a few of the Camp Oven posts I've done here:
Pork Chops with Cornbread Stuffing
Chicken and Andouille Gumbo + Cornbread
Apple Pie